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Roads Book One Don’t look back Don’t you ever look back Shy tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past Years of neglect drug abuse and life on the streets have taken their toll and sometimes it seems the deep unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t uite understand Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth love and strength—things Ash never knew he could have and never even knew he wanted until Pete showed him But fate is a cruel cruel mistress and when nightmares collide with the present their tentatively built world comes crashing down Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home and he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Ash has slipped away Betrayal secrets and lies unfold and when a devastating coincidence takes hold Pete must fight with all he has to save the love of his life

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  1. says:

    I take full responsibility for this I didn't really read the blurb I saw a slew of my friends have loved it and pounced when the reuest came throughMy mistakeI usually avoid books that center around mental illness but the catch 22 is I love damaged characters triumphing over hardship and finding happiness against all odds Sometimes I take a chance and it works out fantastic like with Lucky or Rat Park but other times I end up here feeling badly for not being circumspect Slide started to sour early on for me mostly because I couldn't connect with either Pete or Ash What's I didn't like either one of them and the final nail in coffin I don't think they're good for each other Slide covers about two years with them beginning as roommates introduced by Ash's BFF Ellie who I loathed from the moment she opened her fat shaming mouth There's not one woman portrayed in this book that I could identify with They're all one dimensional cliches of the catty best friend the vapid ex girlfriendhookup the hipster girl everyone loves to hate just not to her face the pretentious WASP y elitist and the feeble minded but lovable motherThis boilerplate misogyny I could maybe big maybe overlook in a strictly gay romance but both Pete and Ash are allegedly bisexual and have had girlfriends in the past Though why they wasted their time on women they clearly believed were inferior nitwits is beyond meNot to dissect them to death but I actually don't think either one of them has a wealth of insight into themselves which made for a truly dysfunctional relationship that was difficult to read and brought me little enjoyment I appreciate that they've both suffered in their lives and even empathize with their trials and tribulations to an extent but suffering doesn't give one carte blanche to treat others with such insouciance Suffering nor mental illness excuses judgmental and obdurate behaviors either such as Pete's treatment of David who seemingly has Ash's best interests at heart I was torn David was a plastic surgeon In my eyes that barely made him human but he was still a doctor and regardless of anything else Ash was still really sick The office was plush with its leather couch and expensive artwork tucked away in the surgical wing of an exclusive private hospital It was how the other half of the medical profession lived plastic surgeons hidden away from the masses What was I doing here? What the fuck did David know about people? I knew for a fact that David wasn't reconstructing burn victims or patching up war vets Nah it was all about vanity Meg's weird looking nose was his own fucking work So because he's wealthy and not the sort of physician that Pete finds honorable that makes him untrustworthy and contemptible? That's a bitter pill to swallow considering it's coming from a fractious malcontent like Pete who had earlier referred to someone on the verge of jumping to his death as a 'crazie' and was pissed that he had to wait for him to either decide to commit suicide or the police to talk him off the ledgeEven sometimes the way they treat each other went all over me Why must they call each other 'fucker' and 'asshole' and the like constantly? It seemed like some sort of halfhearted attempt at 'dark' characterizations but missed the mark and hit contrived instead I'm not even going to touch their non existent communication skills But what I found particularly abhorrent was how Pete somehow made Ash's history of abuse about himHow he couldn't handle itHow he couldn't dealWhich brings me to the abuse and mental illness Trigger warnings for mentions of past sexual abuse neglect drug usage homelessness and physical abuse I'm not going to go full on psychology 101 here Everyone presents and deals with trauma in their own way There's no template but there are criteria that need to be met and those criteria are than just words on a page than reading the DSM That being said there seemed to be some dramatic license taken with Ash's symptomologyRegardless I give kudos to authors who tackle abuse and its long term ramifications and am glad that Ash seeking some professional help was finally broached After two years but better late than never Now perhaps he will begin to encourage Pete to seek some help of his ownI'm not going to proceed further since obviously this didn't work for me Maybe it improves and I'm depriving myself I don't know; however the vast majority of the reviews for this book and series are favorable so I would encourage anyone interested to read them also A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review

  2. says:

    45 Stars

  3. says:

    45 STARSWhen I was organising my reading list for October I spotted this book by Garrett Leigh she is a new author and I loved the cover and the synopsis drew me in straight away everything about it screamed READ THIS BOOK And Oh Boy Am I glad I did This is a fabulous book an excellent read and what a pleasure it is to find a new author I couldn’t put it down until it was finished I loved every moment of my journey with Ash and PeteAsh had been living on the streets from the age of 15 surviving by drawing comic book and pavement art losing himself in his passion and seeking oblivion through alcohol and drugs had been the only things to sustain him a life he was rescued from by the only person who had actually cared about him his whole life Ellie She encouraged him to move into a shelter and then complete a tattoo artist apprenticeship before dragging his arse from Philadelphia to Chicago when she moved back home and it is this point that the story really begins Ash’s life prior to his life in Chicago is drip fed in parts which I won’t go into but it all becomes clear at the end of the bookWhen I started reading this book I was hit immediately by Ash’s voice there was such a haunted feeling to it an apathy as though he was there but not really kind of dazed and distanced from the tale he was telling a complete contrast to the optimism of Pete Garret Leigh’s characterisation of these two characters was excellent and you can’t help but fall in love with these two men Ash is a boy so badly damaged he doesn’t know how to love so lost that every day is a struggle and a new experience but Pete envelopes him with loving care and kindness patiently giving him the room to grow Their love is soul deep and they are both overwhelmed by an emotion that neither had experienced before and Garrett Leigh conveyed that perfectly But it’s not all sadness there is also a camaraderie and and sense of fun that builds as their relationship does that left me smiling and laughing at just how far our boy had comeI didn’t let go of him and he didn’t move but after a long moment he finally sighed “There’s something about you that makes me forget anything else exists”Ash had survived living on the streets but he was finding it hard to adjust to life five years of being oblivious to what we all take for grated now meant that everyday was a learning curve in a world he is unfamiliar with not having had the life experiences that enable us to function as “normal” human beings and at the same time trying to deal with his insecurities with no feeling of self worth So moving into an apartment and dealing with a room mate is a daunting task even so when sleep evades him through nightmares panic attacks and feelings of claustrophobiaPete is a paramedic and works long hours which is both physically and mentally exhausting and despite hardly being home it doesn’t take him long to realise Ash is troubled not surprising really as Ash not used to living with someone and seeing himself as a freak tiptoes around the apartment and a life that for him is an everyday challenge But somehow Pete see’s his vulnerability he has an empathy for Ash he doesn’t truly understand but wants nothing than to comfort him The connection between them is subtle yet profound and all of a sudden you are slammed in the chest by just how much Pete’s intuitive understanding of Ash impacts there were no powerful displays of emotion or an endless torture of sexual tension it was just a natural progression and the chemistry between them was undeniable Pete brought a serenity to Ash that was powerful in itself and I just cried and my heart swelled with how much love and emotion there was between these two charactersFor a moment I forgot everything I’d ever done before as if he was the first man I’d ever touched Pete was so strong but as I moved down his body with my fingers and tongue I was aware than ever that he was just a man like me and he was as fragile as I wasLiving with Ash wasn’t easy and his behaviour a significant indicator there was to his past than he was letting on I wanted Pete to push him on it to ask the difficult uestions but knowing Pete’s phobia’s and fears the one aspect of his job that gave him nightmares I can understand why he let it slide That reason and their long working hours and Pete’s unsociable working hours had them seeing less of each other falling into complacency and lost in his own crazy madness at work with circumstances conspiring against them Pete took his eye of the ball for a moment and missed the triggers that had sent Ash spiralling out of control and he handled it badly which did piss me offWe get a glimpse of Ash’s terror not the details but it is intimated enough to understand his fears and anxieties It’s not a raw and gritty tale that rips your heart out Garrett Leigh’s style is much subtle she still manages to convey all the heartache in such a way that you are lulled into a false sense of security and before you know it your chest is aching and your heart bleeding at what a young life has endured and filled with hope at the love that helps heal him and gives him hope for a futureWithout going into detail for fear of spoiling the story I would personally have liked the end elaborated it was tidied up nicely in an epilogue so I was satisfied but there was so much substance to the main part of the book and I would have liked to have seen how the end impacted and pushed the boundaries of their relationship There are some great secondary characters namely Ellie the tenacious red head Ash’s best friend and saviour and Maggie Pete’s Mother I loved themI am incredibly excited about this author and I can’t wait for the next book in the series I have some unanswered uestions and things not addressed that I am hoping we will see in book two can’t wait

  4. says:

    45 StarsWell I was not expecting thatI haven’t read many stories from this author but the few I’ve read were as real as life gets Her characters are uniue They have flaws They have weaknesses She shows their fragility and I love that They are perfect in their imperfection This one was some heavy shit though Mental illness is a tough subject and if it’s well written there is no way you cannot feel its heaviness There is no way we cannot feel emotionally affected and touched by the character’s issues And GL does that with me She lures me into the story like a moth in the lightI lost count of how many times I wanted to hug Ash to make him feel safe and whisper some sweet comfort words to make him feel better I wish I could take his pain away She is that goodI'm going with a 45 rate only because of the coincidences I’m not a reader who appreciates that I could have done without view spoilerDaryl Hunter’s coincidence and “the sister” appearance hide spoiler

  5. says:

    35 starsThe writing is uite lovely and the characters are well drawn The chemistry between Ash and Pete was great Side note I loved Pete's job He's a paramedic I loved how he was sleep deprived short tempered after night shifts and sometimes went to such unbelievably shitty jobs that they stuck in his head for days or weeks Because sometimes you're coasting along in life and then the sheer realisation of how fucked up people can be to one another hits you right there in the guts I think though that I was let down a little by the plot There seemed to be some big coincidences at play here that really didn't ring all that true view spoilerThe same guy who abused Ash as a kid down in Texas is now in Chicago? And he's also the same guy who attacks Pete at a domestic violence incident? And the same guy who kills the homeless kid in the park? I think this might have worked better if Ash's trauma came to the surface because of similarities between these incidents and his past; it just seemed a stretch to make it all the one guy hide spoiler

  6. says:

    45 StarsThis is probably my most elouent review everMe wrecked and drained but happy I ❤️ it

  7. says:

    I’m so annoyed I can’t even find 2 stars in a book that without exception my like minded friends have loved update there do seem to be a few exceptions 😉 I fucking HATE when that happens I feel like I’m taking crazy pillsI’m going to try my very best to rant without spoilersFirst of all I feel like I read three different books within these 274 pages To begin with we had Part 1 which was the first 40% from Ash’s POV That part was decent — aside from the misogynistic language and fat shaming grrrrr I liked Ash a lot and was intrigued to learn about his story and past His and Pete’s nascent relationship was touching and meaningful for them both And yes hotPart 2 switched to Pete's POV and that next 30% bored me to tears Subjects well covered during this part Sleep and lack thereof work and overwork drinking and overdrinking sex which had diminishing returns with each additional scene showering and not in the fun way moodiness how hot each other was and how that can apparently overcome any mood Trickled among all this the occasional mention of Ash’s dark past Lest we forgetThen somewhere around 70% we start getting into the meat which was really good for a minute I figured the payoff had arrived Stuff started happening Apparently I have to be careful what I wish for in the future because most of what happened PISSED ME OFFSide note I love being challenged with the dark elements of life in the books I read I am endlessly fascinated with psychology the human spirit and its resilience how we manage our pain etc etc One of my top ten books this year ended in a suicide ffs I don’t shy away from mental health struggles in books or in real lifeBut I have no interest in reading about such darkness as a ploy something designed just to endear a character or story to the reader rather than to explore the subject matter with respect I need the author to know what they’re writing about and to write it well or I end up writing a rage reviewThe last 30% of this book made me stabby This is the part that I can’t dive deep into without spoilers but I’ll just say that the psychological elements were butchered Ash’s mental health issues were approached extremely unhealthily unrealistically and irresponsibly I’m not saying that the whole thing had to be shown perfectly but suggesting that view spoilerthe first step in dealing with a repressed memory is to go “investigate” the place where it happened to find out what occurred? WTAF hide spoiler

  8. says:

    Too Much Feeling Will string together sentences when I am able to be coherent again Can't promise coherent but here I go It would really be easiest to just say “See Isaac’s review” This book wore me out in the best way I couldn’t put it down and when I did I didn’t want to pick it back up I mean I did but when you know the heartbreak is coming and it’s coming at you hard you really need to be preppedI think what got to me most about this one was that while it did have extreme hurt for Ash and some brutal realities for he and Pete to deal with the daily messes the ones that can and do happen to any of us were so real they can hit home for everyoneSo for the easy love notes about this story Ash is one of the best damaged MC’s I’ve ever read about His painful past is revealed slowly so I imagined all manner of awful things that happened to him He’s a beautiful artist who has no clue about his appeal Then there’s THE PROLOGUE seriously the prologue – 10 stars for it aloneThese guys were connected like completely connected to each other The sex in this one is amazing and not just the physical descriptions But I could really see how they came together when they well came together It was way than just a physical act for the both of themWhat kicked me in the gut besides the obviously beautifully broken artist was the subtle build up There were times when I was reading that I got impatient I wanted to know everything about Ash I wanted the story to move along what happened to him?? Let’s get to the fixing But once I got to Pete’s POV the slow build up made sense and really worked to get the point across sometimes we really can be blind to what it happening in our own home and to the ones we love the most As a reader I was basically as in the dark about Ash and his problems as Pete So while a few times while reading I got impatient once I got to Pete’s POV and everything came apart I could appreciate what Pete was going through we were clueless and lost togetherI know a lot of people lost the love for Pete when the shit hit the fan I get that At the same time I couldn’t help but feel serious empathy for what he was going through too Throughout the book he talked about how he couldn’t mix his personal life and professional one If his colleagues knew he was gay he would lose his career as he knew it His whole life had been about being cagey about his sexuality and even though he and Ash were deeply in love it was obvious they really didn’t talk about it and they weren’t at all open in public Pete’s a paramedic in a big city he sees awful things on a daily basis It had also become his way to lock those horrible things away he didn’t share with anyone what he dealt with The problem with locking things away is that they don’t really go away So Pete is overworked he is constantly behind on his sleep and he is honestly way over his head with Ash’s illness I also had to keep in mind his age early to mid 20’s given all of that I was upset and frustrated at their situation but I couldn’t hold a grudge against Pete He was never malicious just overwhelmed As much as they loved each other given Ash’s illness they were a recipe for disaster Pete “I was a stubborn asshole when I was in a funk and in turn Ash was like a ghost Not a good combination when things were strained”Really we’ve all been there and you all know I’m only talking about the verbal sniping and the snapping comebacks I would call BS on anyone who said they hadn’t at one point or another been overworked overtired and entirely too stressed gone home to their loved ones and been a total asshole It’s an unfortunate and unfair outlet We’ve all been on both sides of that situation and relationships have come completely unraveled when the rare outburst becomes a habitNeither of these guys had a family life to speak of growing up with any kind of a family unit to learn from They knew ideally what they wanted and they did create a little bubble of domestic bliss to live in It was their “normal” They were happy But they didn’t talk about what they needed to talk about and as long as stresses were at a minimum they were getting by Life doesn’t work that way though and Ash simply couldn’t and Pete didn’t know how to talk through the hard stuff It really was heartbreaking With their schedules they sometimes didn’t even see each other only in passing and usually one of them was catching some much needed sleep Pete “I’d only seen him asleep in bed or glued to his sketchbook and dishing out monosyllabic grunts to any effort I made to communicate After a while it had become easier just to let him have his way I was too tired and pissed off to argue with him”That really summed it up as they got closer to the blow upI can’t really say much about how all the “bad” ended up going down without being completely spoilery and you really do need to read it to appreciate it all One thing that I thought was really well done and again subtle was the two secondary characters that made both Ash and Pete uncomfortable and left them with a feeling of distrust Joe for Pete and Ellie’s dad for both Neither do anything to earn those feelings through the story but the feelings are still there It makes complete sense to me at the end view spoilerBoth of those characters saw too much They knew Sure they didn’t know specifics Joe wouldn’t have really been able to articulate them Ellie’s dad would have but both were a threat to the domestic bubble and saw through Ash’s and Pete’s “normal” and knew something had to give hide spoiler

  9. says:

    Audio 1 star Ended up returning and reading insteadStory 425 starsI enjoyed the story but didn't like the way it was broken up and told Loved Pete and Ash I hope is revealed of Ash's past in the next book

  10. says:

    3 StarsAlthough I appreciated the serious nature of this story and the heaviness of the issues the characters are burdened by within I regrettably found myself unable to connect with either MC in any substantial way as hard as I tried I found myself reacting in frustration rather than sympathy a lot of the time particularly in regards to the utter lack of communication frustratingly displayed time and again by the MCs Ash and Pete — which I believe could only be blamed on their personal issues to such a degree before it seemed a tad ridiculous I think it came down to behaviour and choices I simply didn’t get why Ash or Pete did a lot of the things they did Ash suffered with some serious emotional issues from his past which was clear as day to the reader even before the experiences themselves were revealed so I feel I understoodacceptedfelt for him and his troubled and distant nature to a larger degree particularly as the story went on But Pete was a whole other story for me Pete said some weird shit and made some strange choices throughout this story — choices that didn’t uite make sense to me as a compassionate proactive fairly intelligent human being As a paramedic I found him at times extremely unsympathetic towards the people around him both in terms of the patients he talked about and some of the people he crossed paths with in his life Add to that the way he responded — or perhaps it’s apt to say the way he “failed to respond” — to what happened to Ash in the last leg of the story simply left me flabbergasted view spoilerAfter claiming over and over again how deep his love for Ash was it astounded me how easily Pete disregarded the guy in his desperate hour of need When Pete came home one night and thought Ash had relapsed he basically kicked Ash out no explanation allowed and then after A WHOLE MONTH of not hearing from the guy he loved so hard — yes that’s sarcasm for you — he was suddenly surprised when he realised he didn’t know where Ash was or if he had been safe this whole time which newsflash he hadn’t been I mean who just ASSUMES what Pete did in this scenario?? It was absolutely mind blowing From that moment on I was convinced these two weren’t right for one another so continuing on through the heavy shit surrounding Ash’s dire health scare and his slow uncovering of his past trauma I was certain that the way they were handling it individually and together was just damn unhealthy and generally just the wrong course of action in a multitude of ways hide spoiler